Choosing the Right Bearing Type for Your Bike and Riding Style
One of the questions that we get asked most often is which bearing type is the best choice for a rider’s bike. When faced with the choice of standard, FSS, or FSS with CX Seal, many riders simply aren’t sure what is going to work best for them. Our industry is full of differing terminologies for the technologies that go into products, and it means that the choices are often not very clear. So, we wanted to sort out some of the confusion, and help you better understand how each of our bearing types will benefit you so that you can make an informed decision.
Same Core Technology, Different Applications
One thing to remember when choosing the bearings for your bottom bracket from Hawk Racing, is that the core technologies that make our bearings an industry leader stay the same across all of the choices. All three bearing types use high grade aerospace steel, which provides superior friction reduction and increased lifespan over traditional steel bearings as well as our ceramic competitors. In addition, our proprietary lubricant blend formulated specifically for use with the steels in our bearings give you a maintenance free, low friction bearing no matter which type you choose.
The key to choosing your bearing type, therefore, is to think in terms of application (or riding style) rather than a hierarchy of quality. The transition from Standard to FSS to FSS with CX isn’t a “good, better, best” progression, but rather a set of three products with unique features that make them better for different uses. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what sets them apart and how that affects your choice.
The first consideration is bearing material. Our Standard bearings provide you with our tried and true high grade aerospace steel bearing that has made a name for itself for being durable and fast. This steel is lightweight and durable, and perfectly suited for most riders. If you are a casual rider or living in a dry climate, this bearing is absolutely the perfect choice for you.
Our FSS, or Full Stainless Steel, bearings are make of a stainless version of our high grade aerospace steel. This provides a few key features. First, stainless steel withstands moisture and salt better than standard steel. For those living in damp, humid, or coastal climates, these bearings are a perfect choice because they will last significantly longer than one made of standard steel. In addition, if you do a lot of indoor work on a trainer, these bearings are perfect as your bottom bracket takes a lot of sweat and moisture in these environments. The second benefit of stainless steel is that it is a harder steel, allowing it to withstand more force. This makes it perfect for riders putting high-wattage efforts into the bike as well as those riding on rough and bumpy terrain where the bearings will experience repeated impacts.
Differences in Seals
Does your ride typically look like the one in the video? Water, dirt, and dust are the enemy of bearings. Water washes away lubricant. Dirt and dust get stuck in that lubricant and make your bearings grind. The solution is sealing the bearing against these elements. Seals come in contact with the bearings to create a space that is protected form the elements. However, this contact adds a small amount of friction. This trade-off is the key to the difference between FSS and FSS with CX Seal bearings.
By default, Hawk Racing bearings come with a no contact seal that does not add any friction to the bearings. However, if you ride mountain bike, gravel, cyclocross, BMX, or routinely ride in adverse conditions, the FSS bearings with CX Seal will be a perfect choice for you. The CX seals only add approximately 0.0028 watts per revolution friction to the bearing, so they are well worth the reduction if your riding style and conditions would benefit from it.
Still not sure?
We hope that this helped you understand your bearing choice a bit better. Still not sure which one would be the best fit for you? We’re always here for you and happy to help. Give us a call at 941.209.1790 and we’re happy to help you make the choice that’s best for you.